Living Life in a Fish Bowl!

Gloria’s take on life.

wonder

live out loud

 

PERSPECTIVE – GRATITUDE – WONDER
 
Some songs are as powerful the 99th time you hear it as it was the first time you heard it.
 
“I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean.”
 
PERSPECTIVE – GRATITUDE – WONDER
Psalm 136:3 (NKJV)
“Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords!
For His mercy endures forever:”
 
PERSPECTIVE – GRATITUDE – WONDER
 
“I hope you never lose your sense of wonder.”
 
Psalm 136:4 (NKJV)
“To Him who alone does great wonders,
For His mercy endures forever;”
 
Our God is so creative!
 
PERSPECTIVE, GRATITUDE, and WONDER!
Psalm 136:5 (NKJV)
 “To Him who by wisdom made the heavens,
For His mercy endures forever;”
 
When was the last time you looked up at the sky and thought about how vast it is?
 
PERSPECTIVE, GRATITUDE, and WONDER.
 
“I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance. Never settle for the path of least resistance…….. And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance — I hope you dance.”
 
Don’t fear those mountains. Keeping things in perspective reduces stress. Does it really matter? Is it worth getting frustrated? In the scope of the next five years – will it even be remembered?
 
Have a heart of gratitude. Take time to pause.
 
I don’t want to miss out on living because I was too busy to notice. I don’t want to settle for good enough.  I want to dance!!
I challenge you to stop, look around you, and really take in the moment. Allow yourself to be right where you are, not looking ahead to the next thing on the agenda or playing the “I’ll be happy when” game.   Dance!
 
PERSPECTIVE, GRATITUDE, and WONDER!
Selah!
til next time
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August 3, 2017 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, life lessons, pastor, Pastor's wife, spiritual reflections, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

most wonderful time of the year

Christmas is almost here.  I hope that you have taken some time to enjoy the Christmas season.  It is not too late.  Something as simple as sitting quietly with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate or tea with Christmas music playing in the background can do it for me – even if it is but for a few minutes.

Expectations can run high at this time of year.  Expectations we put on ourselves and expectations from others can pressure us right into stress.

It is a great time of year to take a moment to examine why you do what you do.  If not wanting to disappoint is the primary motive, it may be time to change a few things.  I, like you, do not want to disappoint anyone but when that becomes my motive, no one wins.

From our house to yours — we wish you a Merry Christmas!  May the love of God shine brightly in your heart and through your life.

til next time

christmas-16-001

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December 22, 2016 Posted by | pastor, Pastor's wife, relationships, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

super moon

Did you take a moment to look at the super moon awhile back? Maybe you even took a picture? I did. Sadly, it did not capture the beauty. Yet the source of the beauty wasn’t the moon.

If it weren’t for the sun, the moon would be dark. What we see is a reflection of the sun’s rays bouncing off of the moon.

When people look at us, are they seeing the light of Christ?

 

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6 (NIV)

 

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 (NIV)

 

December is here and with it can come the stress of getting the shopping, decorating, and baking done. Then there is the calendar that is already full. For some, adding school programs, work parties, family gatherings to an already stretched calendar is a potential recipe for added stress.

 

The other extreme is also out there. I was talking with a lady who shared with me that the holiday season is the worst time of year for her. Loneliness and sadness are nipping at her heels. Her calendar is too open.

 

Whatever the reason may be, if you are feeling overwhelmed this December, I encourage you to take a few moments (right now would be good) and talk with God. Cast your cares on Him, lay down your expectations at His feet, and allow His peace, love and joy to fill you again.

 

Now, may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you will overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

 

btw – I want to be a ‘super moon’!  Reflecting brightly the light of Christ!!

til next time

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December 2, 2016 Posted by | ministry, pastor, Pastor's wife, spiritual reflections, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

facing a crisis?

Are you facing a crisis?  Do the trials of life seem to be mounting?  The struggle is real.  We are in a battle but our God is greater than our enemy.  There is no comparison.

What do you do when facing a crisis – trial – struggle?

Pray — which involves casting your cares on Jesus (1 Peter 4:6-7) and being still so you can listen (Psalm 46:10)

Read the Word – what does it have to say about your situation? If your decision goes against God’s word then rethink your decision. Disobedience will not get you the peace and joy you seek.

Seek godly counsel – when this step is intentionally ignored it often means the decision you are about to make may not be the right one. Godly counsel points you to Christ and can help remove the blinders that may be hindering you from seeing truth. (Proverbs 11:14)

Then having done these steps, submit to God – don’t be ruled by your emotions – recognize that while your feelings may be strong, they also need to be nailed to the cross. (Gal 5:24)

Romans 15:13 “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Hope – joy – peace = fantastic!   And just what I need today!

Trusting God – He will see me through and you can count on Him too!

 

til next time

 

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August 12, 2016 Posted by | ministry, pastor, Pastor's wife, relationships, spiritual reflections, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

making up my mind

Today I received a phone call from a dear friend who has went through a long ordeal that consisted of surgery, followed by emergency surgery, followed by ICU and those are just the highlights. Talking with her was indeed good news from a distant land. Hearing about all the many ways that God revealed Himself to her was wonderful.
“Like cold water to a weary soul,
So is good news from a distant land.” Proverbs 25:25
 
I started my morning by seeing Doctor number seven in the host of doctors that I have seen since I started having various health issues. I don’t even know how many different appointments I have had over the past two and a half years. What I do know is that I had made up my mind before hand that this was going to be a good day and I was going to look for the good.
I have not been disappointed.
“I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:14

 

What about you? What determines your frame of mind?
 
“For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,” Romans 8:6 or another way to put it is “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”
 
Where your mind goes determines whether or not you will dwell in peace, joy, and hope or stress, frustration and dismay.
 
God is in control and I trust Him! My mind is set on Him!
 
You know what?   I am making up my mind about tomorrow also.  I will rejoice and be glad! (Psalm 118:24)  No matter what I face,  God will be right there with me (Psalm 46:1) and He will make a way. (Isaiah 43:16)
til next time,
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June 29, 2016 Posted by | ministry, pastor, Pastor's wife, relationships, spiritual reflections, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ugh!! why did i do that?

Today has been a hard day for me.  I resisted the temptation to drop everything and go back to bed.  Good first step.  I even managed to fulfill my duties as a chaplain at two different locations.  I, again, am very much aware that in my weakness, God is strong.  (2 Cor 12:9)   Yet, it has been a struggle all day to keep moving forward.

I don’t know what you are facing, or what might be trying to ruffle your peace, but for me I seemed to have hit a wall with all the health issues.   Frankly, I am tired of hurting.  I guess you could say I gave in this morning and took my focus off Jesus and on to the pain, the number of  health issues, and the upcoming doctor’s appointments that are in my future.

I am not done with my responsibilities for today, so I knew I had to do something.  What is it that I truly need at this moment?

Peace.

Yes, that’s it.  Peace!

Why did I do that?  Take my eyes off Christ and fixate on the pain. I know better and yet?

God offers to us peace. In the midst of whatever is going on we can turn to God, giving Him our hurts, confusion, stress, anxiety, struggle, pain… and receive from Him peace that goes beyond our understanding. (Philippians 4:6-7)

“The Lord will give strength to His people;
The Lord will bless His people with peace.” Psalm 29:11 (NASB)

If we could market peace, true inner peace, into a capsule form, we would make millions. I believe it would be the hottest selling item. There are just so many miserable, stressed out people in the world today. Sadly, Christians can fall into that trap as well – like I did today.

“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace,
Because he trusts in You.
“Trust in the Lord forever,
For in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock.” Isaiah 26:3-4 (NASB)

The key to living a life of peace is to be steadfast, trusting that in any situation that arises, – yes, this includes health issues – God is in control and He is greater than whatever life throws at us. (1 John 4:4) It is when we take our eyes off of Jesus and fixate on the problem that our peace  goes right out the window.

Nothing takes God by surprise. (Psalm 139) He is not off on some vacation unaware of what you are facing. Instead, He is with you. (Matt 28:20) He will make a way. (Isa 43:16) He is for you. (Psalm 118:6) He is working all things out for good. (Romans 8:28) Nothing, absolutely nothing is too difficult for Him. (Jer 32:17, Luke 1:37)

Keep trusting – it isn’t over yet.

Thank You God for peace!

anxiety

til next time

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June 22, 2016 Posted by | ministry, pastor, Pastor's wife, spiritual reflections, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

trading

“He gave me beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…”  This is the song my heart is singing today taken from Isaiah 61:2.   It speaks of the trade off we have when we choose Christ.

ashes to beauty
mourning to joy
heaviness to praise

Sure we can choose to hang on to our ashes, to stay stuck in sorrow and to be weighed down by heaviness, but why would we? I think, for many, they have lost sight of the truth. God is with us (Matthew 28:20) and will make a way. (Isaiah 43:16)

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 NASB)

understand

Peace that goes beyond our understanding is ours if we but hold fast to God (weeping may endure for the night) and trust Him (joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5) Sometimes the night seems long and dark but Micah 7:8 tells us “When I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me.”

 

til next time

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June 11, 2016 Posted by | ministry, pastor, Pastor's wife, relationships, spiritual reflections, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

reminders are good

Sometimes I just need to be reminded.

Some days getting out of bed is an accomplishment.  Yet, it is important to remember that I only have one opportunity to live this day.  When the day is done I want to look back on it and know that I chose wisely, that I didn’t let my ‘feelings’ control my day, that I didn’t let my physical pain have the upper hand, and that I walked with God.

P1080733

This next lesson is one many people could benefit from.   When my life is seeming to resemble chaos, when stress is high, and it seems I just can’t get a handle on things — God leads me beside still waters.   He leads me but this means I choose to follow or I choose to continue down the stress highway.  God’s path is so much better.   Which path are you choosing?

still waters

Sometimes things happen that are out of my control.  The thing to remember is nothing takes God by surprise.  The question is – how long will I allow my heart to be overwhelmed before I cry out to God?   The sooner the better.

psalm 61

Anxious, worried, stressed, this is a good ‘go to’ scripture that is powerful to meditate on.

daisy

Sometimes people can be hurtful.  Recognizing that how I treat them is a reflection of me and my walk with God.   Yes, sometimes I badly need to remember this prayer.

my prayer

Finally, remembering that the center of God’s love is where I want to stay means exchanging my will for His.  What a wonderful trade off.

word pic 5

til next time,

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February 5, 2016 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, life lessons, living in a fish bowl, ministry, pastor, Pastor's wife, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

five women

How can five woman (who are each beautiful in their own way) touch my heart with joy and sadness all at the same time?

For privacy purposes I will call them Beauty, Precious, Twinkle, Tapper, and Sweetie.

Joy:  Beauty lights up whenever I touch her hand.  She loves to talk about the weather outside.  Precious is the one most with it and does not like her nails painted.  Twinkle doesn’t communicate with words but when I look into her eyes and speak to her — there is that twinkle.  Her body doesn’t move but her eyes follow me.  She is in there somewhere.  Tapper loves it when I tap the table with her.  She has beat!  Finally, Sweetie is shy, looks at me out of the corner of her eye and yet wants me to talk with her.  They all, in different ways, remind me of my mother.

As you might have guessed these ladies are in various stages of dementia.

Sadness:  My mother had dementia. For those who watch people they love go through the stages of dementia, well, there really are no words for what that process is like.   I praise God that He is a safe place to hide,  ready to help when we need him.” (Psalm 46:1 The Message)   (Click here for more on dementia) 

While I sat there carrying the conversation, my mind was remembering many such conversations I had with my own mother.  You might say my mother taught me how to communicate with others who have dementia.

It’s coming up on the second anniversary of my mother’s death.  It ‘just so happened’  that  “I Can Only Imagine” came on the radio as I drove away.  I was holding my mother’s hand as this song came to an end and she took her last breath here on earth.  Again joy and sadness — joy in the realization that she no longer needs to imagine and sadness because I miss her so.

Do you know of a family who is dealing with dementia?  I encourage you to take a moment and reach out to them.  A ‘thinking of you’ note, a private message on facebook,  a phone call, or a text will brighten their day.  When you see them in person, inquire about their loved one.  The greatest blessing my friends gave to me was letting me talk about my mom and the struggles I was facing in dealing with her dementia.

Some might think my visit with these ladies was a waste of time.   After all, it is likely they had forgotten it by the time I got out the door.   Some of them  will remember me next time and some will not.   Yet, at the moment it was meaningful to them.    I know it was worth it to me.

til next time

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December 31, 2015 Posted by | dementia, relationships | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

merry little christmas

The Christmas program is over.

Now that may not seem significant to you, but (for me and many other worship pastors out there) this day is right up there with a snow day!!   Actually it is even better than a snow day.

We have spent countless hours putting things together, praying that it turns out the way we see it in our heads,  practicing with various groups (in my case – the first time my children’s choir was all together was the day of the performance)  and trusting that it all brings glory to God.

I posted this on a worship ministers page Sunday night.

 ” Anyone else just really glad your Christmas service is over? I know some of you have already looked ahead to Easter but I am just resting in the fact that today is over. I only heard good things but it sure seemed like chaos to me. It was one of those days were I could have used a larger platform. smile emoticon Very proud of my kids choir and the adults did fabulous also. I went with an older theme — even had a couple poems (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Martin Luther) read by kids. But I am really really glad it is over!”

A couple things about Sunday.  The mom (of a good number of the kids involved in our program and she herself was in it) had to deal with her son having over 150 seizures  before coming to church.  He is a survivor of shaken baby syndrome.   He teaches me so much about worship, but that is a topic for another blog.

Would it have been easier for her  to just stay home than do what was necessary to get 9 kids to church while her heart is breaking over her son’s condition?  Think about that the next time you don’t feel like doing something.  Ouch!

Ten days ago I had surgery.    Three of my five health issues are worsened by stress.  As much as I love Jesus and know that His grace is sufficient, there is no way to get around stress when you are the one in charge of the program.  News flash — these things don’t just happen.   Long before Thanksgiving, I started working on the Christmas program.

All of this to say, I am grateful.

Grateful to God for:

-seeing me through the whole process
-the ability to have joy in the journey
-the grace to press on in the midst of physical pain
-my husband, who held my hand and prayed over me more times than I could possibly count throughout this whole process
-the clarinet and trumpet duet – new talent rising up
-the Sunday school classes reading of Martin Luther’s A Christmas Carole
-the kids who read Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Christmas Bells
-our worship team – they do make my job easier
-our adult choir – this was their second performance of the year and what a fantastic job!
-my kids choir – their enthusiasm is contagious
-being my strength in weakness – (2 Cor 12:9)
-pain, because it is really a blessing least understood – truly the outward man is perishing BUT the inner man is being renewed day by day (2 Cor 4:16)
-being my ever present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1)

What are you grateful for?

Here is a small taste of our program.  Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas — some words have been changed.

 

 

til next time

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December 22, 2015 Posted by | ministry, Pastor's wife, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment